St Albans’ Batchwood School investigated after allegations in whistleblower report
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A whistleblowing report has raised allegations about a school in St Albans which recently received a glowing commendation from Ofsted.
While the report sparked an investigation by both Herts county council and Ofsted, neither organisation upheld the complaints.
But questions have continued to be asked about Batchwood School, attended by pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties at Townsend Drive, after it emerged that a former student was taken on as a teaching assistant after he had completed his schooling there.
And a source, who asked to remain anonymous, has told the Herts Advertiser that there were concerns about the young man working with children who were, effectively, his peer group and therefore also “vulnerable”.
The woman said: “Staff taught him just last year, and then he was sitting in the staffroom with them.”
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The source was particularly “annoyed” that the young man was taken on as an assistant less than a year after the county council and Ofsted concluded investigations into Batchwood.
In a 40-page whistleblowing report seen by this paper, there are a number of allegations from a large group of people with historic connections to the school, who recounted stressful situations they witnessed or experienced.
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n Allegations that staff were incorrectly told their jobs might be at risk during a previous Ofsted inspection.
n Whistleblowers also said they had witnessed a pupil being “screamed at”.
However, a spokesman for the county council said: “There have been complaints and whistleblowing to the education authority and Ofsted.
“These have been fully investigated by both organisations and have been found to be completely unsubstantiated.”
In 2009 Batchwood was ranked satisfactory, but the latest Ofsted report concluded it was an outstanding school, following a full inspection in March.
Inspectors said behaviour in lessons and around the school was outstanding because of the warm and positive way staff treated students.
Ofsted has a whistleblower hotline for those wanting to report concerns about practices and procedures for the safeguarding of children and young people, but suggests people raise concerns with their employers first.
Confidential advice is available at independent whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work – www.pcaw.org.uk